Huntress Press, 2022
In Elemental: A Miscellany of Salt Cod and Islands, Linda Buckmaster follows the call of the elements—rock, sea, sky, wind. Elemental is the first installment in a series of creative and eclectic responses to the beauty and realities of islands in Maine, Newfoundland, and northwest Scotland. Through essay, poetry, and fiction, Linda traces the imprint of the lowly salt cod over time in communities across the North Atlantic and Caribbean.
Elemental connects women workers “making the fish” on Newfoundland cobble beaches, displaced emigrants from the British Isles, enslaved people on Scots-owned West Indian sugar plantations, and contemporary coastal life, all connected to the natural world. Previously an editor for a commercial fishing magazine and former Poet Laureate of her small Maine town, Linda knits fact and lyric into her narrative net.
Elemental: A Miscellany of Salt Cod and Islands can be purchased online from Hello Hello books in Rockland, Maine and is available at your local independent bookstore.
“Elemental makes real a shared culture of the North Atlantic Rim with cod at the center. Through language and its accents, geology and its textures, the present and its histories, this collection dives below the surface of a rough green sea, and washes ashore on an island.”
~ Catherine Schmidt, The President’s Salmon: Restoring the King of Fish and its Home Waters
“Linda Buckmaster follows the sea ways, follows the cod lines, follows the northlands of her heart. We follow the mixed history of cod, humans, and place as Linda searches for a proper engagement with islands that humans have been influencing since the glaciers receded. Elemental, yet rich with history, rich with poetry, song, and story, rich with the lives of many beings.”
~ Gary Lawless, How the Stones Came to Venice
“Linda Buckmaster’s Elemental glitters like sun on waves, delivering shards of island life, lore, and facts. With acutely rendered detail, these stories, poems, memories and informative text transported me to the spare, brutal beauty of northern islands.”
~Beth Powning, The Sea Captain’s Wife and The Sister’s Tale
“The opening explosion of plankton draws me in for a lyrical orientation to what lies ahead inspired by this geography and its species, human and fishy. The travel narrative shows the islands and regions as characters themselves like flotsam on a wave-rolled cobble beach.”
~Natalie Springuel, College of the Atlantic